In a shady wooded glen today I cleared a path flanked by oaks, hickory, maple, beech, and witch hazel. It marked the beginning of the Wild Ozark Nature Boutique & Ginseng Nursery retail and demonstration gardens. I pruned out the excess hickory, oak, and cherry saplings and placed their branches in stacks horizontal to the hillside. That’ll create a sort of dam to collect debris and flotsam when it rains hard. Over the course of years, it will build up little areas of rich, loamy humus.
The Wild Ozark Nature Boutique & Ginseng Nursery Plans
My project is a long-term one, hopefully something that will still be here to serve and be served by our great-great grandchildren and others who want to learn the ways of this special habitat. This is the site of the next ginseng habitat restoration project. It lies across the creek from the future Wild Ozark Boutique & Ginseng Nursery. My forearms are aching, but this is a pleasant sort of pain. It means work has been accomplished.
Not just ginseng
It’s not just ginseng gardens in the works, and not just Arkansas native plants, though those will be the main focus. I use other herbs that have naturalized, like mullein and wineberries, for example. Other herbs like anise hyssop, which isn’t native here but is very useful, will also have a place in the garden.
Our acreage was logged many years ago, first extensively in the late 1800’s, then successively less so over the intervening years. The last selective logging took place most likely in the 1990’s. Pioneer trees like cedar and elm dominate many areas still, but in some locations the maples and beech are beginning to become well established in the oak and hickory forests.
Even where it’s adequately shaded and moist, ginseng won’t grow in a forest made strictly of oak and hickory or a mix of only the two. They need deciduous trees with leaves that break down easily, like maple, beech, and ash. The best areas also have pawpaw and witch hazels.
Retail sales & Educational gardens
The nursery will serve as part of the American Ginseng & Ozark Useful Plant educational gardens I’m constructing. This spring I hope to open our physical retail location at the connex with the gardens. Here’s my plans – that connex will be the “store”.
Rob will rig it with solar so I’ll have lights and maybe a little power. I’ll plant an educational herb garden before it with labels on all of the plants.
The nursery area for the woodland plants will be across the creek in the woods, with the sun-loving herbs for sale in front of the connex.
We’ll also be connecting buyers to sellers of fresh wild ginseng, by appointment. That item will only be available from Sept through October. You can get information on that and also dried wild American ginseng here: More info.
Here’s a link to the online shop. It’s still under construction but I’m adding products daily: https://www.wildozark.com/shop/
Interested in Establishing a Ginseng Habitat?
In spring I’ll have a ginseng companion plant collection, which is sort of a “starter kit”. It includes many of the plants that commonly grow in the ginseng habitat: (5) first year ginseng seedlings, and one each of the following: black cohosh, doll’s eyes, blue cohosh, Christmas fern, rattlesnake fern, bloodroot, goldenseal, wild ginger, spicebush, and pawpaw.
If one of those are not available for whatever reason, I’ll fill in with one of the more abundant plants to make the total plant package 15 plants. The black and blue cohosh and doll’s eyes are in very limited availability, so I’ll run out of those first. The collection is $100.
These need to be reserved in advance by email. Payment isn’t due until you pick them up. No mail orders. CALL OR EMAIL AHEAD- use the contact information (click here or see menu).
If you want a postcard announcement of the Grand Opening, email me with your postal address. Go to my contact information (click here or see menu).
About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods
I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.
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Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods